** GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 ** ‘Popular science at its best’ Mail on Sunday ‘Eminently accessible and enjoyable’ Observer With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds in the Roman Senate, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding. In fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might also bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. In Caesar’s Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe and across time to tell the epic story of the air we breathe.
"Everyone should have two copies - one for the car and one for the house to plan journeys. . . a reminder to think more about the places you pass and less about your route, because every British journey is through rich history." (Edward Stourton) From much-loved historian Neil Oliver, comes this beautifully written, kaleidoscopic history of a place with a story like no other. The British Isles, this archipelago of islands, is to Neil Oliver the best place in the world. From north to south, east to west it cradles astonishing beauty. The human story here is a million years old, and counting. But the tolerant, easygoing peace we enjoy has been hard won. We have made and known the best and worst of times. We have been hero and villain and all else in between, and we have learned some lessons. The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places is Neil’s very personal account of what makes these islands so special, told through the places that have witnessed the unfolding of our history. Beginning with footprints made in the sand by humankind’s earliest ancestors, he takes us via Romans and Vikings, the flowering of religion, through civil war, industrial revolution and two world wars. From windswept headlands to battlefields, ancient trees to magnificent cathedrals, each of his destinations is a place where, somehow, the spirit of the past seems to linger.